ArticleProceeds will go towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. see more
VICTORIA, BC (July 2, 2019) – On Friday June 14th, over 1,100 community members came together to celebrate the achievements made in the Greater Victoria technology sector for the annual Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards at the Royal Theatre. The energy in the room was electrifying - so much so that when VIATEC Past Chair Rasool Rayani challenged the audience to raise funds to help food security in Victoria, $200,000 was pledged on the spot by a number of generous local tech companies and entrepreneurs. (See the full list below). The monies will be combined with an additional commitment of $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation for a total of $300,000.
“Tech companies locate in Victoria for many reasons including the post-secondary schools, research facilities and quality of life,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “That said, most of the tech sector’s $4.06 billion in annual revenues are generated by selling our products globally. As a result, our 955 tech companies do not require the same kind of strong brand recognition locally that the other primary sectors of our economy rely on and they fly under the radar. We know that our members have always given back but, much of that giving has been quiet or anonymous. The VIATEC Foundation was created as a way to encourage, support and recognize the community support of local tech companies and the results of this impromptu campaign shows the impact they continue to have.”
“The Food Rescue Project is innovative, inspiring and demonstrates how many entities, agencies and organizations can come together for greater good. We are honoured to assist our members in supporting such a great initiative.”
The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, are putting the money towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. The 22,000 sq. ft facility at 808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt currently serves as a central hub for the Food Rescue Project, which recovers and redistributes fresh healthy food that currently reaches about 35,000 people every month across the capital region. Consultation and planning is underway to further leverage the Centre to support the local food economy through such things as incubation and development of food-based social enterprises, processing and storage for local food production, or opportunities for food skills training and employment.
Earlier this year, the Mustard Seed secured financing to purchase the Centre in partnership with the Victoria Foundation and a $2 million grant from the province. The Centre, which launched in 2017, is part of the Food Rescue Project, an initiative of the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 member organizations, including local non-profits, First Nations, School Districts and other organizations working towards a food secure region.
For those that would like to take up the challenge, donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/make-a-donation/ or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.
Generous commitments so far:
- Redbrick Technologies
- Scott and Jessica Lake
- StarFish Medical
- Mark Longo of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
- Stuart Bowness of Workday
- Gord Macdougall
- Royal Roads University
- FreshWorks Studio
- Quimper Inc.
- Victoria Foundation
About the VIATEC Foundation
The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry). We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca, www.forttectoria.ca
A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed. see more
Tech community continues support of local food bank with a $51k donation
VICTORIA, BC - December 10, 2018 - A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed as a direct result from the 2018 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge! The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound). This brings the total 2018 value to $51,716.40!
It is our honour to continue to play a role in encouraging and directing the generous members of our community,” said VIATEC CEO, Dan Gunn. “The participants got creative with their fundraising this year; There were wine raffles, bake sales, pancake breakfasts, chili cook-offs, office parties, plenty of interoffice competition and even a push-up competition between two companies. They’ve been digging deep, having fun and making a difference as part of the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge for over a decade and it’s because of them that many families will have food on the table this holiday season, and throughout the year. All the credit goes to our members and donors and we look forward to aiding them for many more decades to come.”
Since its inception in 2002, $2,201,714.40 worth of food and cash has been donated to the Mustard Seed through companies participating in the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge. With this year’s amount, the challenge has raised a total of $2,253,420.80!
The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound)
This year’s top contributors:
Greatest Per-Employee Contributor
1st place: Aviary Technologies ($727 cash & food per employee)
2nd place: RevenueWire ($309.10 cash & food per employee)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($219.60 cash & food per employee)
Greatest Overall Contributor
1st place: RevenueWire ($12,364 cash & food)
2nd place: Starfish Medical ($7,090 cash & food)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($5,490 cash & food)
A plaque presentation took place on December 7th at VIATEC and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Sweater Weather Get Together event, bringing out over 300 attendees.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Technology is Victoria's #1 industry with a $4.06 Billion Annual Revenue, a $5.22 Billion Economic Impact and over 16,775 employees across 995 high-tech companies - and growing!)
We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca
About the VIATEC Foundation:
A fund, held with the Victoria Foundation, that provides a simple way for VIATEC members to give back. Launched in June of 2017 (Raising $177,242 on its first day), the VIATEC Foundation is a result of seeing the philanthropic efforts of VIATEC Members being made privately or members lacking a direction for their goals. Because it is an industry that thrives on competition and challenges, VIATEC saw an opportunity to offer people a way to direct their generosity and show the Victoria community what’s possible.
About the Mustard Seed Street Church:
The Mustard Seed Street Church has been essential in fighting hunger and restoring faith to a large portion of people living in poverty, as well as the working poor, in Greater Victoria since 1975. The Mustard Seed’s operations are nearly 100 percent community funded and include Vancouver Island’s largest Food Bank, a Family Center, Hospitality programs, and addictions recovery at Hope Farm Healing Centre as well as more traditional Church services.
The Mustard Seed Street Church positively impacts, on average 5,000 individuals per month, with more than 50 volunteers keeping things running everyday. With your help, lives are transformed on a daily basis! www.mustardseed.ca
Marketing & Events Director
At the launch event, members raised $177,242 for the fund, which continues to grow. see more
Source: Pulse Magazine
VIATEC Foundation Fund builds incentive for community giving
Victoria’s tech community has long had a hand in making a difference. As an industry on the edge of innovation, aiding its community, literally and philanthropically, has always been a priority.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) has been an industry leader since its launch in 1989, and supporting the community is built into its mission. This past year marked a new chapter in VIATEC’s contributions with the launch of the VIATEC Foundation Fund — a fund, held with the Victoria Foundation, that provides a simple way for VIATEC members to give back.
“People in tech companies love efficiency, and we saw this as a way to offer our members a front door for supporting the causes they care about,” says Dan Gunn, VIATEC CEO. Gunn, who has been running VIATEC for the last 13 years, says he noticed many of his members were philanthropic, but most gave privately or lacked a direction for their goals. Because it is an industry that thrives on competition and challenges, Gunn saw an opportunity to offer people a way to direct their generosity and show the Victoria community what’s possible.
The fund has already generated more success than expected. At the launch event, members raised $177,242 for the fund, which continues to grow. This year, most funding will support the Mustard Seed Food Bank, and Gunn says the tech community will guide the fund moving forward, from food security to education, homelessness, and other initiatives.
Mark Longo, VIATEC board member and chair of the VIATEC Foundation Fund’s committee, says working with the Victoria Foundation simplified the process of setting up the fund, allowing members to focus on the charities rather than administration.
“Many of us in the tech sector are very fortunate, and giving back is important to us — it’s our responsibility and our honour, and getting involved in the fund makes sense,” says Longo. “I’ve seen the importance of this sector grow over the years, but the consistent theme is giving back. We have a lot of passionate people in this industry, and you accomplish a lot when people work together.”
VIATEC posted an articleVIATEC Foundation grant recipients include the Mustard Seed, Food Rescue and Robotic Butler programs see more
The VIATEC Foundation Announces its first Grant Recipients
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – June 5, 2018 - The VIATEC Foundation, which launched with a flourish at the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards in 2017, has made its first donations to causes in the region. “We were overwhelmed by the initial outpouring of support from Victoria’s tech community, translating into over $166,000 in initial pledges. In the ensuing months, we have recruited an amazing team to the VIATEC Foundation Committee and developed a framework for giving that will support our community in areas of need that are important to Victoria’s technology ecosystem”, commented Mark Longo, Chair of the VIATEC foundation committee and long-standing member of the VIATEC Board of Directors.
Cheques totalling $40,000 have been made out to The Mustard Seed Street Church, the Food Rescue Project and the University of Victoria-based James, the Robotic Butler Program. “The Foundation Committee looked at a broad range of needs in the community, we looked for projects that were innovative and, in this first year, fit with themes that resonate with our membership,” said VIATEC Board Chair and foundation committee member Rasool Rayani.
The newly minted foundation, which in its first year is working in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.
Longo said they expect the foundation to attain charitable entity status within two years, but for the time being will carry out activities using the back office and charitable status of the Victoria Foundation. “The Victoria Foundation has been an excellent partner to us in launching our fund. They have the infrastructure in place to manage the permanent component of our fund and to process donations and charitable receipts seamlessly,” remarked Longo. “It is such a pleasure for the Victoria Foundation to be working with a vibrant organization of the stature of VIATEC. Their sound grant decisions are based on community needs,” said Sandra Richardson, chief executive of the Victoria Foundation.
The first round of grants includes $10,000 for the Mustard Seed food bank, $15,000 for the Food Rescue Project and $15,000 for James, the Robotic Butler.
“VIATEC has a long history of supporting the Mustard Seed food bank and last year (VIATEC chief executive) Dan Gunn took on a challenge to do stair climbing in support of additional fundraising. To amplify that effort the foundation chose to offer matching support for the money raised,” said Rayani. Gunn raised nearly $5,000 for the Mustard Seed, and the foundation more than doubled that amount with an additional donation of $10,000.
The Mustard Seed will also benefit from the $15,000 grant ear-marked for the Food Rescue Project as it operates that program’s food security distribution centre. “The Mustard Seed Street Church is incredibly grateful for the continued support of VIATEC. This donation will go toward the completion of the commercial processing kitchen at the Food Security Distribution Centre and we couldn’t be happier,” said Derek Pace, interim executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church.
“As a member of the Food Share Network we have had the incredible opportunity to be the operational lead on the Food Rescue Project. This fresh, healthy, rescued food is then redistributed to individuals and families in need, through 43 agencies to an estimated 35,000 people.”
But Pace noted that even their efforts result in some waste with as much as eight per cent of the rescued food going to animal feed or into the waste stream.
“This kitchen project will give us the opportunity to take still useable food and turn it into delicious, ready-made meals,” he said, adding it will go a long way in their goal of reducing waste by half.
Rayani said the support of the Food Rescue Project was a natural fit for the new foundation.
“This program supports the entire region and assists the homeless, lower income households and students,” he said.
The Food Rescue Project is the flagship of the Food Share Network, which helps 35,000 people annually who experience food insecurity.
The program diverts high quality food, which may otherwise end up as waste, to those in need.
Food Share Network co-ordinator Brenda Bolton said adding a commercial kitchen that will be available to non-profit agencies in the region makes a huge difference.
“We anticipate a further reduction in food entering the waste stream and are excited about access to a commercial kitchen, employment and training programs for low-income individuals and the products that will be developed using fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said. “The Food Rescue Project is feeding 35,000 people through the collection of over one million pounds of high-quality fruit, vegetables and dairy products.”
Bolton said the need continues to grow. “In 2016, an estimated 20,000 residents used food banks and meal programs to get enough food,” she said, adding nearly 30 per cent of those accessing emergency food resources are children.
The VIATEC Foundation held a donor appreciation event at the food security distribution centre on June 4th and donors witnessed first-hand the amazing potential of the centre to reduce food insecurity in the local community.
The University of Victoria-based James, the Robotic Butler Program, is also addressing a significant and growing need.
The program, housed at UVic’s School of Public Health and Social Policy, is developing robotic technology to increase the independence and quality of life of disabled users and offer assistance to caregivers and healthcare professionals working with disabled people.
Program lead Nigel Livingston, a professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy, said the grant will have a significant impact on the program.
“First, in accelerating our research. It is also very significant and important to us that VIATEC has recognized the potential of our work. Having this type of recognition is important to other potential supporters,” he said. “Currently almost one in seven Canadians live with a disability.”
The program has already developed a sophisticated prototype of a mobile platform that can either move autonomously or be controlled by a user.
The platform can accommodate a suite of interchangeable modules that perform specific tasks like opening doors, pushing buttons, positioning trays and carrying groceries.
“The grant of $15,000 toward James the Butler Project supports professor Nigel Livingston’s cutting-edge work. It demonstrates the use of new research and technology playing a strong role in healthcare regarding people with physical disabilities,” said Richardson. “It enables people to focus on their abilities rather than disabilities.”
Donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/make-a-donation/ or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.
“We felt it was important to capture a lot more of what is already happening" see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Capital region’s tech sector to launch charitable foundation
The capital region’s largest industry is about to make a little more noise.
Victoria’s high-tech sector will announce Friday at its annual awards show that it will launch a charitable foundation, partly to demonstrate the impact the sector has on the broader community.
“We’ve been looking at this for more than 10 years now,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council. “Most of our members are doing a great deal for the community, but because very few of them sell products here, they are not doing it for marketing reasons and it can be somewhat invisible.”
The VIATEC Foundation, which is to be launched in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, is designed to focus the social conscience of the industry.
“We felt it was important to capture a lot more of what is already happening — the donations, time, volunteers and support being provided by our members so we can look at it annually, report on it and encourage increased participation by the rest of our members,” Gunn said.
“And if we can focus them on some key areas, we think we may be able to create some unique programs,” he said, noting that will make the sector more visible and that participants can accomplish more as a collective.
VIATEC's 558 members have shown they can make a significant difference when they pull together. Over the last 13 years, they have raised just over $2 million for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.
“VIATEC will be quite interesting. They are such a force in the community that if they group together to do something wonderful for this community, you know it will have an impact,” said Sandra Richardson, chief executive of the Victoria Foundation. “They are very entrepreneurial and deal with a different demographic, and they look at the larger challenge. It’s not just about giving this year and then moving on.”
Gunn said that eventually, the VIATEC Foundation could operate on its own. But for the first year, as it goes through a Canada Revenue Agency application process, it will be run under the auspices of the Victoria Foundation.
“It makes sense because they have the infrastructure and administration in place. But this is a foundation for our members and by our members,” Gunn said. A board will be established to direct the foundation’s focus and its philanthropy toward VIATEC-determined priorities.
Richardson said the cost for using Victoria Foundation administration will be minimal, and none of the money donated to the VIATEC Foundation will be used to pay for it.
In terms of funding and donations, Gunn is hoping tech companies will see the value of pooling resources.
“Our hope is companies will take their philanthropic intent for the year and dedicate it to the VIATEC Foundation. So when someone wants [that company’s support], they can say you can fill out an application online,” he said, adding that dealing with community requests will be easier.
“When you are known as a supporter of the community, you end up seeing a lot more asks — and they increase every year. Our members typically don’t have staff to deal with that full time,” Gunn said.
“At the same time, we will be able to capture the impact we’re having and encourage more of it. We can show the impact the tech sector is having beyond the economics.”
Gunn is hoping to be able to announce the first contributors to the foundation at the awards show on Friday.
He is also hoping some companies might consider a “founder’s pledge” that would fund the foundation through small equity stakes in their companies. For example, it could be a one or two per cent pledge that would be realized should the founder exit the company or the firm is sold.
“We have been reluctant to ask for that, but if [tech companies] are willing to pledge a portion of future gains, that would be an ideal outcome,” Gunn said.